(HealthDay News) -- Folic acid is a vitamin found naturally in many foods, including whole grains, fruits, beans and legumes, leafy vegetables, and some meats. And many prepared foods have folic acid added.
The vitamin is important for women of childbearing age. Folic acid is proven to help reduce the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Any woman who is planning a pregnancy or who could become pregnant should take folic acid supplements. Women should begin taking these supplements well before they are pregnant, and continue taking them throughout pregnancy, the NLM says.